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Notes on the Trainsheet
From Rail & Wire Issue 162, November 1996

by Peter Schmidt

This issue of Rail & Wire is the sixth and last for 1996. The year's end also marks the end of the Museum's 44th year of existence and 30th year of operation. But did you know that Rail & Wire is much older than the Museum itself? Actually it's only the name which is much older. The original Rail & Wire, first published in 1913, was the company magazine of The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company. The TMER&L operated the Milwaukee streetcar and interurban system, and there are many pieces of "TM" equipment in the Museum collection. The successor company, the Wisconsin Electric Power Company, stopped using that name for their magazine in 1953 ... the year the Illinois Electric Railway Museum was founded. The Museum began publishing its version of Rail & Wire in 1957.

This is also my sixth issue as editor of this newsletter (the second time around!) I am enjoying it, and I hope you like the results. In my first editorial I asked for your feedback. After all, Rail & Wire is published solely for you, the members. I have gotten just a few letters with comments, corrections, and constructive criticism. But I still don't feel I know what kind of articles and reports you prefer. If you have some thoughts, let me know.

There are some months I think there won't be enough material to fill 16 pages for the next issue, but someone has always come through with an article, photographs, or just a good idea. To all those who have contributed, thanks! To the rest of you with ideas and information related to the Museum and its activities, why not write them down and send them along?

Twice a year we list in Rail & Wire those who have donated money or material to IRM. It's the least we can do to thank all of our donors for their support. Without it the Museum could not grow and prosper. (I can't resist adding that any donations made before the end of the year will be tax deductible on your 1996 return.)

We are not so good at recognizing those who donate their time rather than their money. That's a shame. Because without the incredibly high level of volunteer support IRM enjoys, there could be no Museum as we know it.

The problem is that the Museum does not formally register volunteers or record most hours of volunteer time. Making it more difficult, many volunteer hours are spent away from the Museum site proper. To give you some idea of the level of effort however, a recent poll of the Department Heads resulted in a list of over 150 individuals who are considered active volunteers. Thanks to you all-you know who you are!

Last, but certainly not least:
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

From the Rail & Wire Issue 162, November 1996


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